The History of Medgar Evers College
Medgar Evers College has the distinction of being the youngest of the four-year senior colleges in The City University of New York. In the early 1960s, the Central Brooklyn community recognized the need and expressed a desire for a local public college. Through various community organizations including, but not limited to, the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council, and the NAACP, and through their local elected officials, the residents of Central Brooklyn approached the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York with this request.
Members of the various community-based organizations constituted the Bedford-Stuyvesant Coalition on Educational Needs and Services, which served as the primary vehicle for interfacing with the Board of Higher Education. After many discussions and much involvement by community residents and the Coalition, the Board of Higher Education, on November 17, 1967, "approved the sponsorship of Community College Number VII, with the indication of an intention to admit students in the Fall of l969."
On February 13, 1968, the Board of Higher Education announced that the college would be located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. On January 27, 1969, the Board approved the establishment of an "experimental four-year college of professional studies offering both career and transfer associate degrees and the baccalaureate degree, to be located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, said college to be established in place of a previously approved but not started new Community College VII, and further directed that the City University Master Plan be amended accordingly." This action was endorsed by the action of the Regents on March 20, 1970.
The Board of Higher Education Proceedings of April 14, 1970, reflect the Board action, which modified the 1968 Master Plan to delete Community College Number Seven and listed in lieu thereof under Senior College, "College XVII, Mid-Brooklyn, Initial Facilities, Estimated Cost: $10,000,000." The College was officially established on July 30, 1970, when Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller signed the legislation approving the "establishment of an experimental four-year college of professional studies offering both career and transfer associate degrees and the baccalaureate degree."
Finally, on September 28, 1970, the Board of Higher Education approved the recommendation from the College’s Community Council that the name of the college is Medgar Evers College, in honor of the martyred civil rights leader, Medgar Wiley Evers (1925-1963). In recognition of this, September 28th is observed as "Founders’ Day" at Medgar Evers College.
On December 2, 1970, the Medgar Evers College Community Council, chaired by John Enoch, and the Board of Higher Education co-hosted an announcement ceremony at the Y.M.C.A. on 139 Monroe Street in Brooklyn. Chairman Enoch stated, "The Medgar Evers College, reflecting the image of the martyred leader who dedicated his life to the cause of individual freedom, dignity, and personal fulfillment, will add another pillar of strength to the growing educational, economic, cultural, and social foundations of the central Brooklyn community and New York City."
Mr. Evers’ widow, Mrs. Myrlie Evers, and two of the couple’s three children flew in from Claremont, California for the ceremony. She has presented a scroll that cited Mr. Evers’ " effective contribution to the cause of human freedom and dignity. In choosing the name of Medgar Evers, it is our hope that his ideas will inspire students and faculty of the college in their pursuit of truth as the surest path to human freedom and social justice."
The community was then and continues to be an important force in the life of the College. The method of planning for the college and selection of its first president was unprecedented in the history of the Board of Higher Education. For the first time, representatives of the local community participated actively in the decision-making process. Seven members of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Coalition on Educational Needs and Services served on the Presidential Search Committee and the mandated Community Council was organized in the Spring of 1970 under the leadership of Mr. John Enoch, Acting Chairman.
The sense of commitment and service to the community, which pervades throughout the College, may be attributed directly to the multi-faceted roles, which the Community Council and the community as-a-whole, have played in the establishment, growth, and development of this institution.
Medgar Evers College was founded as a result of collaborative efforts by community leaders, elected officials, the Chancellor, and the Board of Higher Education of The City University of New York. The College, named after the civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, was established in 1969 with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of Central Brooklyn. The College is committed to the fulfillment of this mandate.
In keeping with the philosophy of The City University and Medgar Evers College, we believe that education is the right of all individuals in the pursuit of self-actualization. Consequently, the College's mission is to develop and maintain high quality, professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of liberal education. The College offers programs both at the baccalaureate and at the associate degree levels, giving close attention to the articulation between the two year and the four-year programs.
The College has a commitment to students who desire self-improvement, a sound education, an opportunity to develop a personal value system, and an opportunity to gain maximum benefits from life experience and from their environment.
Consistent with The City University of New York Board of Trustees’ policy, the College seeks to serve the Central Brooklyn community which is comprised of students with diverse educational, socioeconomic, political, cultural, and national backgrounds.
The College seeks to provide students with the essential basic and academic knowledge and skills necessary for rigorous undergraduate study, entry into graduate and professional schools, and career advancement and to incorporate the experiential resources of students into their attainment of skills and knowledge and academic excellence.
The College seeks to improve students' understanding of self, past and present societies, and future trends by providing its students with a liberal education that communicates the knowledge of tradition, the teachings of scholars, and the beauty and profundity of their cultural heritage.
The College seeks to prepare students for leadership roles in a changing world so that they and the College can be energizers or change agents in the community.
The College seeks to develop non-degree educational and co-curricular social, economic, and cultural programs that serve its students and a broad population of community residents.
The College seeks to fulfill its mission through active interaction with community representatives
The College seeks to create a positive environment that provides opportunities for the professional growth of all its employees and that permits freedom of thought and inquiry, the free exchange of ideas, and the pursuit and advancement of knowledge by faculty and students.
The College seeks to develop and maintain processes and procedures for coordination and oversight that ensure that standards of quality are met and that its Mission, Goals, and priorities are accomplished as effectively and efficiently as possible.
A Message from the President
Medgar Evers College has the palpable energy and excitement of a school on the rise. Our Central Brooklyn campus just steps away from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and the Brooklyn Museum is in the midst of the borough’s cultural and economic renaissance. Our commitment to students, families, and the communities we serve, helps to drive the change that you currently witness.
At MEC, we lean into your genius, whether you never imagined yourself at college or are applying to our new Honors Program. In these times of economic and social uncertainty, our rigorous curriculum, new degree programs, and ever-expanding, award-winning faculty produce global citizens who are equipped for high-quality jobs.
Our students leave Medgar Evers College with a new understanding of themselves and a commitment to social justice which reflects the legacy of civil rights leader Medgar Wiley Evers. Our diverse student body is presented with opportunities and new worlds through our Center for Black Literature, the Caribbean Research Center, the Center for Law and Social Justice, and The DuBois Bunche Center for Social Policy.
That connection to the community starts early here with our school to career Pipeline Program for students in grades K-12. Here, we know that potential has nothing to do with your zip code or your country of origin. Potential is realized through personal rigor and shared joy.
-Dr. Rudolph Crew
11225 Brooklyn, New York, USA